[EDIT: I am now also on GoodReads. Add me at will. Lately there are longer reviews there, this is a just a convenient overview.]
[EDIT #2: Come December I exceeded the post limit again, so now the movies are here.]
1. The Hearts of Horses - Molly Gloss. 304 pg/2007. [1/8]
It was like falling into a painting, so easy to disappear into the past and the Western frontier. And plenty of horses to charm me! I love when titles do not lie to me.
2. Gleeful!: A Totally Unofficial Guide to the Hit Series [NF] - Amy Rickman. 214 pg/2010. [1/15]
Silly-cute (see here). I did learn a few interesting things, though, like Dianna Agron's Tumblr or Heather Morris' background on SYTYCD.
3. Fixing Delilah - Sarah Ockler. 320 pg/2010. [1/19]
Delilah sucks. I was enjoying the family secrets & backdrop of preparing a house for estate sales, but I lost all ability to evaluate this book objectively after she threw a temper tantrum and smashed an expensive antique Delft cow creamer, and nobody cared. Oh, and of course Emily's a lesbian. What other explanation could there possibly be for her not dating her cute male friend? *eye roll*
4. Diary of a Chav - Grace Dent. 216 pg/2008. [1/23]
I've always wanted to read this picturing a young Rose Tyler. Mission: accomplished, by hook or by crook. It was ridiculously entertaining, even though I had to make judicious use of the glossary. It actually felt like a diary, as opposed to just diary format with too well structured, detailed writing. So mad library does not have sequel.
5. CSI: Brass in Pocket - Jeff Mariotte. 323 pg/2009. [1/25]
Been a while since I read one of these. A story with Riley but no Grissom or Sara? Not the way to come back, and lame attempts to make Riley an animal lover will not dissuade me from picturing Morgan in her scenes. I'd forgotten how clunky these could be with their references to show canon (so inferior to Nikki Heat), never mind the dry writing.
6. CSI: The Burning Season - Jeff Marriotte. 345 pg/2011. [2/3]
Better, especially with all the talk of Grissom and Sara peppered in, but still took me days to finish.
7. Crossing the Line - Lauren Baratz-Logsted. 312 pg/2004. [2/4]
More ludicrously nonsensical fun, albeit a little less fun because the whole racial identity mess combined with a closeted gay mom just took the title to heart.
8. A Match Made in High School - Kristin Walker. 278 pg/2009. [2/5]
This may be the most idiotic idea I have ever seen for a YA novel. I can't quite wrap my head around how a publishing company paid money to distribute this manuscript. Couldn't stop WTF-ing enough to care about the characters, although I took issue with the lazily contrived happy ending. Dude was not attractive.
9. That Summer - Sarah Dessen. 198 pg/1996. [2/5]
So this is how it all it began...there was some incredibly beautiful writing in this. Think I may be over my Dessen grudge.
10. The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story [NF] - Diane Ackerman. 323 pg/2007. [2/6]
One of the better books I've ever read about WWII, by virtue of how prominent animals remained throughout.
11. Jersey Tomatoes Are The Best - Maria Padian. 352 pg/2011. [2/11]
No, apparently they're the worst. Eva's anorexia was disappointingly un-triggering and her attitude so stupid I just wanted to open her mouth and shove sugary food down her throat, while Henry was sufficiently irritating that her romance just came across like a bland page-filler.
12. The Daughters Take The Stage - Joanna Philbin. 273 pg/2011. [2/11]
I liked that better than the last one; it was back to the appealing quality level of the original, but I've apparently outgrown this series? I think I'm done reading Daughters books, at any rate.
13. The Sweetheart of Prosper County - Jill Alexander. 224 pg/2009. [2/15]
The library's Teen Advisory Board picks a rare quality choice, albeit on the younger end. Aren't 4-H type stories cuter when pets don't die?
14. Stay - Deb Caletti. 313 pg/2011. [2/17]
Took a while to get going, footnotes annoyed me, split timeline and main character's constant justification annoyed me...but then we met Finn, whose description was happy to let me picture Blaine Anderson with curly hair, and from that point on I was quite cheerful. (still waiting on you to write happily married parents though, Deb.)
15. Child of the Wolves - Elizabeth Hall. 176 pg/1996. [2/19]
The lackluster nature of my reading list drove me to the juvenile section, to devour something I don't remember but which I probably read in childhood, where I nearly wept for joy at the familiarly simple but classic animal-story writing style.
16. Shrinking Violet - Danielle Joseph. 292 pg/2009. [2/19]
I quite liked this. Main character I could relate to, and an interesting behind-the-scenes look at radio.
17. Somewhere in Blue - Gillian Cummings. 334 pg/2010. [2/22]
Confusing. The point of view randomly changed so much that I got whiplash, and everyone was so dull except Dan. Dan was sweet.
18. Love, Inc. - Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout. 408 pg/2011. [2/25]
Aw, that was pretty cute and well developed! Way better than your last offering, authoresses. And personally, I saw nothing morally wrong with their business. That was some enterprising awesomeness.
19. Harmonic Feedback - Tara Kelly. 288 pg/2010. [2/27]
I wasn't sure about the character at first, but I ended up really liking her by the end. The narrative arc played out well.
20. Crowned - Julie Linker. 290 pg/2008. [2/27]
Cute, superficial fun: pageant style.
21. Spoiled - Heather C. & Jessica Morgan. 360 pg/2011. [2/29]
Even more glossy, superficial fun. Oh, insane numbers of pop culture references, I have oddly missed you. (favorite: a covert limo pickup sign for Ms. Chanandler Bong)
22. Rival - Sarah Bennet Wealer. 336 pg/2011. [3/4]
Really, it was just kind of...bland. Maybe botched the structure by keeping the reason for the rivalry secret for half the book, and then not having anywhere to go.
23. With Or Without You - Brian Farrey. 368 pg/2011. [3/5]
What are you doing to me, Blaine? What part of this sounds like something that would align with my interests? But from the very first page I was completely absorbed in the story, and I could not put it down. Fascinating, rich and compelling characters, all of them, and not one obnoxious narrative turn or scene/language that truly scarred my hyper-sensitive eyes.
24. Undone - Brooke Taylor. 320 pg/2008. [3/5]
A fine story of coping with loss & grief, even though the dead girl is such a generally awful and corrupting influence that the only thing you wish is that she'd died sooner. Ugh, teenagers are stupid sometimes. I felt for the mom.
25. Crunch Time - Mariah Fredericks. 336 pg/2005. [3/11]
Way more telling than showing. 5 voices = 4 too many.
26. A Boy I Once Knew [NF] - Elizabeth Stone. 205 pg/2002. [3/11]
Some interesting introspection...very well written, need time to digest the concept.
27. Sing Me To Sleep - Angela Morrison. 301 pg/2010. [3/12]
Way too much going on in this story, with a weirdly dreamy/surreal/fantasy vibe over it for some reason (also, the girl turned into an obnoxious ball of rutting hormones), but it hit its stride when Derek's secret came out. Then it was just straightforward tears streaming / down your fa-ace.
28. Recovery Road - Blake Nelson. [3/13]
Mostly impressed at how much time it spanned (better near the end). Someone really wanted to do a whole character biography.
29. The Girl Who Became a Beatle - Greg Taylor. 2011. [3/14]
It makes no apologies for its cracktastic literal wish fulfillment, so I can't say I didn't know what I was getting into...
30. Taking Off - Jenny Moss. 340 pg/2011. [3/16]
I wasn't sure about the backdrop, but it turned into a really good 80s coming-of-age story -- reminded me of Final Grades, even though the only thing it really had in common were King Lear paper excerpts -- with rich, solid characters that gradually wrapped me up in their world.
I don't think I liked a single character in this book, and I punched it at the end. Draw your own conclusions. Or read the spoilery Tina Says review.
32. Bitter End - Jennifer Brown. 368 pg/2011. [3/20]
Not half bad for a cautionary tale about abusive relationships; this is a good thing for the teen crowd to have.
33. Dramarama - E. Lockhart. [3/26]
Mix one part summer theater school program with one part straight girl/gay best friend (OH HAI THERE GLEE AU), a heavy dose of discussion about musicals (including a song spotlight on Wicked), and a slow-but-sure story of abandonment, and you have got yourself the makings of an incredible book tailor-made for what I want to read right now.
34. No and Me - Delphine de Vigan. 244 pg/2007. [3/26]
The best part was knowing it's translated from French and so the whole story is not only set in another country, but written from that perspective. I can see why it was a prizewinner, too -- it was a fascinating, heartbreaking read, and I loved the untidy ending. It was just what I expected, and no less.
35. Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters - Natalie Standiford. 313 pg/2010. [4/1]
Only author cred made me pull it out, which is a shame, because its title, cover and summary make it easy to get lost amidst the vast sea of low quality Rich White Girl Problems stories, and it's really a cut above the general population. Even if Sassy's confession is ridiculous for anyone over the age of 10 and Jane is a horrible person.
36. Star in the Middle - Carole Larese Millward. 303 pg/2009. [4/2]
Was like reading a Lifetime movie. Even the cover photo looks fake and staged.
37. A Nostalgic Almanac [NF] - Edna Hong. 173 pg/1980. [4/5]
"In a delightful journey through the seasons, Edna Hong shares her appreciation of life lived and values learned on a midwestern farm," says the cover, and it is a wonderful collection of quaint, timeline-fuzzy musings about rural childhood in the 1920s, a chapter for each month on the calendar (each opened w/ a beautiful pencil sketch). You don't often find writing like this for this era.
38. A Little Bit Wicked [NF] - Kristin Chenoweth (w/ Joni Rodgers). 240 pg/2009. [4/7]
Her personal life seems to be a bit of a mess, but she's got a super cute voice here that validates my perception of her as an adorable person. While I felt like I was reading most of it just to get to dessert - the very end, covering the last couple of years prior to publication - I really enjoyed getting a relatively definitive history on a woman whose pre-Pushing Daisies life was a complete blank for me until now. (on that note: so much pain every time she expresses relief PD survived season 1. HAHA. JUST WAIT.) I'm also glad I waited until now to read it; do not think I would have appreciated it as much until I really fell head over heels for her, as well as while Smash has me all interested in the details of New York theater.
39. After - Amy Efaw. 350 pg/2009. [4/9]
You want to strangle her about half of the book for being such a thick-headed MORON, and also for the obnoxious present tense that somehow distances you from the action, but eventually it works its way up to being the intriguing story you wanted it to be.
40. Wild Season - Allan M. Eckhert. 154 pg/1967. [4/13]
Once you adjust to the fact that nearly every creature you meet dies a few pages later (although you will never adjust to the poor bull snake), this is a fascinatingly detailed observation of the wildlife in and around a midwestern lake over the course of the month of May.
41. How To Be Bad - E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski & Lauren Myracle. 325 pg/2008. [4/15]
Apparently it's a fluke when Lockhart & Myracle write good books. I should really have assumed from the title that the road trip portion was going to get overshadowed by girls being idiots at some point.
42. The Implosion of Aggie Winchester - Lara Zielin. 288 pg/2011. [4/16]
Not only do I not believe a Minnesota school would go that crazy over Prom Queen elections, I didn't care because Aggie was such a whiny, spoiled brat while her mom was clearly awesome.
What...even the hell did I just read. Literally, what was it about? NOTHING MADE ANY SENSE.
44. Fostergirls - Liane Shaw. 256 pg/2011. [4/29]
Not really spectacular in any way, but it seemed so refreshing to have a teen protagonist I could actually stand. Solid story. There aren't enough tales of foster children in YA.
45. All We Know of Love - Nora Raleigh Baskin. 208 pg/2008. [5/1]
Well, that was quite a lot of nothing. Endorsed by Anita Shreve, should have known.
46. Mountain Solo - Jeanette Ingold. 309 pg/2003. [5/5]
It took too long for the 3 parallel stories to make sense instead of just splintering the focus, but by the time we got to the end, I was thoroughly invested and heartbroken by every possible outcome. I would read a sequel, that's how much I want to hear more about her stepfamily and see her hinted-at relationship develop.
47. Rx - Tracy Lynn. 265 pg/2006. [5/6]
Too much swearing, but moved along at a faster and more engaging pace than a lot of books this year.
48. Clean - Amy Reed. 272 pg/2011. [5/12]
How do you expect me to focus when the voice changes every five pages, every other chapter changes voice by paragraph, and they all blend together? (I never did figure out the difference between Eva and Olivia) Appealing idea horribly butchered in execution.
49. King Dork - Frank Portman. 344 pg/2006. [5/13]
Too much swearing and vulgarity, reminding me why as a general rule I loathe male protagonists in my YA novels. But the thing is, it's the most actual FUN I've had reading in a while. He had a great, engaging voice, the bold category headings and sketches throughout were charming, and the mysteries were truly compelling. The constant hatred/disdain for Catcher In The Rye was just a bonus.
50. Target - Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson. 175 pg/2003. [5/15]
I will never be able to explain why I read this. It was short? That's why I finished it. For accomplishment feelings.
51. Are You Going To Kiss Me Now? - Sloane Tanen. [5/19]
It's like the very definition of "beach read."
52. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) [NF] - Mindy Kaling. 240 pg/2011. [5/20]
Every sentence in this book is perfection. Structure, topics, opinions on one night stands...this book is sheer magic. I would like her to be my BFF.
*53. The Girl Next Door - Selene Castrovilla. 237 pg/2010. [5/20]
Problem: If I Die Young is over. Solution: Reread this book! It is an endless source of material to mine for all one's teenage ships that need a good shot of angst and tear triggers. Except I forgot it was in first person, so I wound up keeping the appropriate genders in place to play Blaine/Rachel instead (even so, the characters are so obnoxiously well written that they keep trying to be themselves). It is still an amazing cancer story, but I also forgot how much I hate how sex-focused it is. Why the relationship had to start with a hookup instead of taking the proper romantic steps in order, I will especially never understand.
54. Girls Don't Fly - Kristen Chandler. 300 pg/2011. [5/21]
I got super bored with the...pirate? story she was telling her brothers and stopped paying attention, but everything else was wonderful. Strong characters, stronger setting, interesting plot; have I mentioned my love for this author? She gets how to write quality YA. This is the strength I have been so desperately missing all year. I knew I wasn't going crazy. My selections from the genre really were that consistently sucky.
55. Love, Cajun Style - Diane Les Becquets. 400 pg/2005. [5/25]
I was fully expecting this to be a 2.5 to 3 star read, with its skinnydipping in the opening pages and its "a saucy novel" on the cover, and then BAM. Out of nowhere, blew me away with -- well, still a lot of nudity, but very little sex to go with it, and more importantly these rich, amazing descriptions of life in a small Louisiana town (I want to read this book every summer), great friendships, lovely tentative romantic encounters; it was a treat turning every page.
56. Putting Makeup on Dead People - Jen Violi. 326 pg/2011. [5/27]
Unnecessary alcohol and sex, which is a shame, because this was a wonderfully unique idea and the characters and setting were strongly developed, pulling me right into that world.
57. The Future of Us - Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler. 356 pg/2011. [6/1]
Now that is an awesomely cracktastic way to use, I don't even know, magic? time travel hijinx? to weave Facebook into a 1996 story.
58. Part Wild [NF] - Ceiridwen Terrill. 235 pg/2011. [6/1]
I was more interested in Ryan than the wolfdog, so that's always a bad sign for a pet memoir. I'm not as big a fan of the ones that weave hard factual research into the story and have 30 pages of footnotes and sources at the end. There just wasn't much there; fairly repetitive escape/havoc cycles and too little about what made Inyo worth owning in the first place.
59. After You - Julie Buxbaum. 336 pg/2009. [6/4]
Sometimes I randomly stumble upon books at the library and they turn out to be rather pleasant. Ellie & Sophie were too precious for words.
60. All My Patients Kick and Bite [NF] - Jeff Wells, D.V.M. 243 pg/2011. [6/9]
Even better than his last book. Great storytelling.
61. From Bad to Cursed - Katie Alender. 442 pg/2011. [6/10]
I don't like to encourage novels that show signs of expanding into a series, but that was a worthy follow-up to its predecessor.
62. Between Here and Forever - Elizabeth Scott. 250 pg/2011. [6/10]
And back to the failboat she goes. It was fine, if not exceptional, until the secret about her sister came out. OH, MY GOD, this cannot possibly happen as often in real life as it does in YA literature. KNOCK IT OFF.
63. Finding Somewhere - Joseph Monninger. 224 pg/2011. [6/16]
It felt a little juvenile in tone for the intended age group and characters, so it didn't quite live up to the amazin potential in my head, But for subject matter alone, by far his best work.
64. Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography [NF] - Elisabeth Sladen with Jeff Hudson. 334 pg/2011. [6/17]
MAGNIFICENT. I heard her voice the whole way through, and even though I knew very little about her work prior to 2006, that didn't matter. Every page was engaging, intriguing, informative. Just a wonderful chronological walkthrough of her career, but infused with warm personal commentary that made it seem like a deeper exploration (frequent side references to her present-day work helped - a better introduction, they could not have written). I learned so much about her, and all of it good. Now I miss her even more.
65. Five Flavors of Dumb - Antony John. 352 pg/2010. [6/18]
I dunno if it will stay with me, but that was a really enjoyable reading experience. Awesome job being a dude who writes realistic and super likable female protagonists. Like, best-ever work from a dude in this area.
66. Don't Let Me Go - J.H. Trumble. 344 pg/2012. [6/20]
The first two-thirds of this book was so amazing that my jaw literally hung open at its perfection and every 10 pages or so I would have to stop and shake myself briskly to let off all the excess squee. And then it exploded into a hideous fireball of suck and never recovered.
67. Twelve Long Months - Brian Malloy. 316 pg/2008. [6/20]
Title speaks truth, since I had to suffer through this girl making 85 poor decisions (you might at least have warned me Mark was going to be an irreparable moron) and the author making the remaining ones for her (the ending). Oh wait, a dude wrote this? That makes sense.
68. The Rescue of Belle & Sundance [NF] - Bridget Stutz & Lawrence Scanlan. 221 pg/2010. [6/23]
Rather dull story about people doing stuff; the horses are like cameos. There was no reason for this to be a book as opposed to some well written news articles + captioned photos.
69. Deep in the Heart of High School - Veronica Goldbach. 202 pg/2009. [6/27]
"Band kids" sounds promising, but turns out I am way over the inane thoughts of freshmen and also am correct in assuming I have no interest in Hispanic culture.
70. And Then Things Fall Apart - Arlaina Tibensky. 272 pg/2011. [6/28]
Excellent idea, sort of ordinary and occasionally nettlesome in execution (i.e., once I realized what "sofa king" was a substitution for; also, not here for you recounting the steps to your sexual awakening thanks).
71. Walking Back To Happiness - Lucy Dillon. [7/1]
I felt like it was less dog-focused than her last book and the people were suckier (Louise didn't even have a dog; why did she get half the narration), but dogs still featured as main players so Lucy Dillon continues to be the best at writing books for grown-ups.
*72. Candy Stripers - Lee Wyndham. 196 pg/1958. [7/1]
No words for this adorable vintage perfection.
73. Horses Never Lie About Love [NF] - Jana Harris. 277 pg/2011. [7/2]
I can scarcely think of a better idea for a book than just talking about years of taking care of your horses, including raising a few show-ring foals along the way.
74. The Eighty Dollar Champion [NF] - Elizabeth Letts/ 296 pg/2011. [7/4]
That is an inspiring story. I was a little worried that it would end up being too much about the people, but although it was a bit historical-research focused, thanks to the 1950s setting I found it all fascinating.
75. Winter Town - Stephen Emond. 331 pg/2011. [7/5]
Seems hipster-y. And every time I started to get into the story, one of the idiotic-looking drawings would crop up and eliminate my ability to take it seriously.
76. The Survival Kit - Donna Freitas. 355 pg/2011. [7/8]
That was a wonderfully structured book (complete with playlist in the back!) that made me cry a couple of times with overwhelming Feelings and yet did everything right. YA gold standard.
77. How To Save A Life - Sara Zarr. 341 pg/2011. [7/8]
I will never get over my Sara Zarr grudge if she keeps featuring morons (one too thick to live, the other an eyebrow-pierced brat). These two were slightly less dumb and aggravating than Story of a Girl, though.
*78. Into The Wind - Gertrude Mallette. 295 pg/1941. [7/14]
Evidently later titled Probation Nurse, it's a fascinating journey into the extremely strict world of preliminary nursing training. I felt so liberated when I finished reading and realized I could conduct myself however I wanted. I also forgot 90% of the details in this story, so I'm really glad I remembered liking it and re-requested it.
79. Pedigree Unknown - Dorothy Lyons. 172 pg/1973. [7/17]
Not really going down as a classic horse story, as Jill's a bit of a twit. More like romance with horses dashed in (which at least makes it a very good romance).
80. Becoming Chloe - Catherine Ryan Hyde. 215 pg/2006. [7/18]
It was better in my head. My fault for over-hyping
81. The Less-Dead - April Lurie. 229 pg/2010. [7/22]
Disturbing and upsetting in all the best ways. Poor Will.
82. Sandpiper - Ellen Wittlinger. 227 pg/2005. [7/22]
Title character was relatively bratty and also extra stupid (JUDGING YOU AND YOUR TEN SEX PARTNERS FOREVER), but I liked all the others, and wanted to hear more from the Walker.
83. Bumped - Megan McCafferty. 323 pg/2011. [7/23]
Now this is a dystopia I can handle. Probably because it just doesn't sound that inherently awful to me, even with its flaws being pointed out all over the place. I even want to read the sequel, which never happens ever.
84. Rose In A Storm - Jon Katz. 217 pg/2010. [7/25]
DOG STORY. THIS IS AN ACTUAL DOG STORY. FOR GROWN-UPS. A NEW ONE. If he could stop writing his stupid memoirs and just write novels featuring dogs all the time now, I would approve. *kicky feet of joy*
85. Want To Go Private? - Sara Darer Littman. 332 pg/2011. [7/26]
I thought I said I was over the inane thoughts of freshmen? It got good reviews and I did enjoy part II, but god, that was full of so much grossness and it was hard to wrap my head around how very dumb she was. By the end I had no sympathy for her at all.
86. A Three Dog Life [NF] - Abigail Thomas. 182 pg/2006. [7/27]
Interesting bits, but think I prefer the straightforward memoirs to the ones by writers who work so hard at making every sentence a piece of art.
87. Animal Magnetism: My Life With Creatures Great and Small [NF] - Rita Mae Brown. 235 pg/2009. [7/28]
I have more respect for her as a person now, but I really must learn that if the library shelves books in the biography rather than pet section, there is a reason for that.
88. Are U 4 Real? - Sarah Kadefors. 320 pg/2001. [7/29]
Aww, that was worth reading. Sometimes the friends you make on the internet are real teenagers and not pedophiles!
89. From Baghdad, With Love [NF] - Jay Kopelman w/ Melinda Roth. 191 pg/2006. [8/1]
Heartwarming story, plenty of cute stuff about the puppy, but a bland backdrop. That said, the phrase "War on Women" now strikes me as EXTRA tacky after just a few pages of about reading what life in a country with actual war is like.
90. The Story of Us - Deb Caletti. 389 pg/2012. [8/2]
Well, that was...not a very nice bedtime story. (or, "If you are tempted to finish that title with the lyrics 'looks a lot like a tragedy now,' go right ahead.") Like, we are dangerously close to a falling-out here, Deb.
91. Blue Smoke - Dorothy Lyons. 244 pg/1953. [8/5]
Excuse me while I go lie down to recover from the dizzying, exhilarating rush that is a fantastic vintage girl-and-her-horse ranch story.
92. Quad - C.G. Watson. 296/2007. [8/8]
I came for a school shooting. Not an 85% flashback book about various forms of bullying from a dozen different viewpoints, 10% waiting room anxiety, and 5 pages for the shooter to be revealed and apprehended like an afterthought. P.S. WHERE IS MY ADORABLE GAY BEST FRIENDS PAYOFF.
93. Silver Birch - Dorothy Lyons. 308 pg/1939. [8/9]
FINALLY! Now I remember how much I love Connie, but to my surprise, I was almost as fond of the gang of girls and their determined formation of a Girl Scout troop as I was by the wild horse gentling.
94. The Dog Who Wouldn't Be [NF] - Farley Mowat. 211 pg/1957. [8/9]
The boat scenes dragged, but otherwise laugh-out-loud funny, an instant classic. What a wonderful setting in which to get lost. Mutt is the best of the best among dogs belonging to boys.
95. Dream of Night - Heather Henson. 218 pg/2010. [8/10]
Hot streak, on a roll! Deeply moving story of a foster girl, rescue horse, and their temporary guardian. The horse's POV didn't work quite as well for me, but by the end, I wished I'd writen this book.
96. Lifting The Sky - Mackie d'Arge. 311 pg/2009. [8/19]
I thought all the nonsense with the "lights"/auras really detracted from what could have been an amazingly perfect children's story of an idealistic-yet-realistic childhood. But even with them, since they tied it into Native American mysticism, I have to grudgingly admit that at age 12 this would have been my favorite book in the world.
97. Close Friends [NF] - Peter Jenkins. 319 pg/1989. [8/25]
I recognize the cover as something I read many years ago, but I remember absolutely nothing. So much more fun to read it now, after his last book when I actually know who he is, but since this book is all about the animals he's owned in his life, it's even better than his last book.
98. I Brake For Yard Sales [NF] - Lara Spencer. 179 pg/2011. [8/26]
Really more like a thick magazine, full of glossy photos/colors and short, snappy text blurbs. Not really a yard sale/thrifting book so much as an interior design book for celebrities looking to decorate with older items on a civilian budget, featuring secondhand furniture that often cost what I would pay for new pieces.
99. The Queen Geek Social Club - Laura Preble. 319 pg/2006. [8/29]
Aw, one of those sneakily awesome/adorable friendship books!
100. The Girl With The Mermaid Hair - Delia Ephron. 312 pg/2010. [8/30]
What was supposed to be happening in this story? I couldn't tell if there was an element of fantasy or not, it was all so vague, like moving underwater (a/k/a super disappointing #100).
101. Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) - Sarah Mlynowski. 357 pg/2011. [8/30]
NO KIDDING YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE. Note to self, Mlynowski and I are done. So many things I mostly liked, always undermining themselves. By the end of the book I was on Noah's side; Vi seems a horrible influence.
102. Oink: My Life With Mini-Pigs [NF] - Matt Whyman. 336 pg/2011. [8/30]
GOOD GRIEF, COULD THIS BE CUTER. Wonderful writing style - I laughed out loud many times - and marvelous family + pet adventures. I even liked his kids! That is a true feat of accomplishment.
103. Instructions For a Broken Heart - Kim Culbertson. 304 pg/2011. [9/1]
I went all Glee AU. The results were magnificent, so now I shall never know if it was due to that, or if this was actually the most perfect YA novel I have read this year.
104. Ordinary Beauty - Laura Weiss. 320 pg/2011. [9/5]
Slow to start, but soon I was totally absorbed in both the story of her life and the present-day action (Evan: most adorable, also a champion way to zipline to my heart), where the former made me cry about 3 times.
105. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts - Terra Elan McVoy. 423 pg/2011. [9/14]
Long and bland, became utter waste of time in final pages. p.s. Violet is THE WORST.
106. Memory Boy - Will Weaver. 230 pg/2001. [9/15]
The sequel looked good, but then I realized it was a sequel and backed up. Good semi-survivalist adventure, realistic and not at all sci-fi as it looks/sounds, nothing too dark or graphic or gritty.
107. Badd - Tim Tharp. 308 pg/2011. [9/15]
Not bad, not memorable, not new territory, but given a slight edge with the Captain Crazy storyline; worth the read. Ceejay got less hostile and horrible as it went on, that helped.
108. Shine - Lauren Myracle. 359 pg/2011. [9/16]
Still amazes me when she turns out to be a good writer. That said, while the mystery was great, the gay-bashing perpetrator's reveal/consequences were eye-roll worthy, and the whole thing would have been better if she hadn't kept reminding us that her main character was the annoying kind of rape victim who lets everyone think she hates them and turn against her rather than explaining why she's traumatized.
109. The Survivors - Will Weaver. 356 pg/2012. [9/20]
A worthy followup, though he seemed to working overtime to accommodate people who hadn't read the first book. 11 years between publications is not an excuse.
110. Wanderlove - Kirsten Hubbard. 338 pg/2012. [9/21]
It took two things I hate - traveling and Central America - and made a beautiful, exciting adventure out of it. What is this sorcery.
111. What Happened To Goodbye - Sarah Dessen. 402 pg/2011. [9/24]
OK, Dessen and I are buddies again, because that was one glorious summer read with a refreshingly plucky and friendly main character, and just the right kind of conflict.
I just felt grosser and grosser as I read on. Felt like I had food poisoning by the end. (p.s. TEAM GABE FOR LIFE)
113. Songs For A Teenage Nomad - Kim Culbertson. 245 pg/2007. [10/10]
Amazing soundtrack structure, lovely writing, sweet and appealing main character; the best books are the ones where you want to curl up inside and inhabit that world for a while.
114. Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV [NF] - Warren Littlefield w/ T.R. Pearson. 326 pg/2012. [10/12]
I am nerdy, so I enjoyed all the network exec talk about what went into pitching and maintaining these shows (all of which were undeniably great), but liked it best when actors chimed in with anecdotes and memories.
115. Hooked - Catherine Greenman. 288 pg/2011. [10/19]
Not bad. Divided into 4 parts as it was, some parts were a bit rushed; it felt like she had 4 complete story ideas but had to condense them into one. I suppose it was nice to see that much of a character's life unfold.
116. Kings of Colorado - David E. Hilton. 288 pg/2011. [10/21]
Not sure what made Goodreads say "this seems like a good book for someone who likes equine memoirs and horse stories featuring young girls," but I'm glad I read it. I just have to stop crying and get rid of this soul-punched feeling first, because everything that happened in the mountains will be haunting me for a while.
117. Frozen Heat - Richard Castle. 313 pg/2012. [10/27]
Between the opening chapter, the Nikki breakdowns and the part where at one point they woke up handcuffed together, I had fun. Not quite so much fun when a recurring character I really like died in a gruesome manner, though.
118. The Fault In Our Stars - John Green. 318 pg/2012. [10/27]
Author ban temporarily lifted because HE WROTE ME A TRAGIC CANCER NOVEL and there wasn't much cursing at all, and when they did it was mostly allowed under the "dying of cancer is the worst" clause (this is the same clause that excuses teens gettin' down if they're also in love).
119. Pure Gold: Adventures with Six Rescued Golden Retrievers [NF] - Holli Pfau. 263 pg/2012. [10/30]
Super embarrassing when she wrote from her dogs' point of view or described their spirits coming back to talk to her, but otherwise a boatload of great stories.
120. The Sharp Time - Mary O'Connell. 228 pg/2011. [10/31]
THIS is how you take full advantage of having a character work in a vintage clothing shop. Her obsession with fantasizing about gun-based revenge was pretty weird, but every page was dripping with so much lush description and beautiful writing I had to read slowly and carefully to make sure I didn't miss anything.
121. Leap - Jodi Lundgren. 217 pg/2011. [10/31]
Beautiful descriptions of dance, whole lotta stupid everywhere else.
122. The Perfect Distance - Kim Ablon Whitney. 246 pg/2005. [11/1]
YA horse novel alert! Got a little bogged down in superficial romance at the midpoint, then screwed its head back on straight and focused on the showjumping competition and the horses like it should. (still devastated by the tragic element, though)
123. Tales of an African Vet [NF] - Dr. Roy Aronson. 224 pg/2011. [11/1]
African wildlife made for a nice change of pace. Not terribly engaging.
124. Lost in the River of Grass - Ginny Rorby. 255 pg/2011. [11/3]
Scary survival adventure! Remind me never to get lost in the Everglades. To be safe, I should probably just avoid Florida.
125. Cleo: The Cat Who Mended A Family [NF]. 295 pg/2009. [11/3]
This cat lived to be 24. Which is about how many years it felt like I spent crying reading this. Cover to cover, nonstop tears.
126. Zen & Xander Undone - Amy Kathleen Ryan. 212 pg/2010. [11/4]
Surprisingly compelling book packed full of sisterhood, family, cute/harmless boys on the fringes, and a family secret I couldn't decide if I wanted to know or not.
127. Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers. 246 pg/2009. [11/4]
It Girls be scary bitches.
128. Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog [NF] - Emma Pearse. 307 pg/2012. [11/4]
I'd never heard this story, but wow! Lucky family to get her back.
129. Two Girls of Gettysburg - Lisa Klein. 393 pg/2008. [11/4]
And as I emerge from a haze, blinking slowly and realizing with immense relief I am safe and far away from the terrors of 19th century war... I'm so glad when historical novels are worth the read.
130. Let's Pretend This Never Happened [NF] - Jenny Lawson. 319 pg/2012. [11/6]
*dying of laughter* The Bloggess vs. Victor + wacky animal (dead or alive) stories = what more do you need?
131. Sharks & Boys - Kristen Tracy. 246 pg/2011. [11/6]
Well, that got heavier than I expected. It didn't look like the type of story where anyone would actually die.
132. Sign Language - Amy Ackley. 392 pg/2011. [11/8]
Speaking of dying, this book hurt so much to read. By the halfway point I was crying so hard every few pages I had to take it away from myself for the night.
133. Glee: The Beginning - Sophia Lowell. 216 pg/2010. [11/10]
134. Glee: Foreign Exchange - Sophia Lowell. 245 pg/2011. [11/10]
135. Glee: Summer Break - Sophia Lowell. 213 pg/2011. [11/11]
All 3 books summarized here.
136. Psych Major Syndrome - Alicia Thompson. 330 pg/2009. [11/17]
I literally feel like I just tried on being a psych major for a semester. Which I didn't know I was interested in, but it feels awesome anyway!
137. Breathless - Jessica Warman. 311 pg/2009. [11/8]
Girl was a dumbass (I approved of how her parents hated their sucky children), but I loved her friendship with Mazzie. The one thing that made me cry was as they neared graduation, when they would no longer be roommates.
138. Without Tess - Marcella Pixley. 281 pg/2011. [11/18]
You're much better off. I'm officially unable to sympathize with girls who idolized their crazy siblings and are sad they're gone.
139. Thumped - Megan McCafferty. 290 pg/2012. [11/18]
Well, that got irritatingly preachy about reproductive rights by the end. I'm done with this world now.
140. Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen. 422 pg/2008. [11/22]
Ah, yes. That's why everybody hearteyes Sarah Dessen as one of the Queens of Contemporary YA even when she veers a bit heavily into formulaic chick lit territory. God, she writes such solid stuff.
141. Dear Readers and Riders [NF] - Marguerite Henry. 220 pg/1969. [11/23]
I JUST learned this book existed, and now my brain is filled hearts and flowers, brimming with facts about not only her, but every book she had written to date. All of which I need to reread immediately.
142. Izzy & Lenore [NF] - Jon Katz. 199 pg/2008. [11/23]
Pros: "no dogs die in this book" disclaimer + inclusion of farm animals + way the hospice care detail made me cry + breathtaking photos of Izzy (not pictured on cover). But he is not a compelling human being, and NOW I'm parting ways with Katz and his tiresome lack of sentiment for pets.
Giant pile of boredom and grossness and HOW did this get marketed as YA, because the tone was all wrong. Perfect example of everything I don't like about general/adult fiction.
144. Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson. 468 pg/2012. [11/24]
Age 12 isn't so far away when you're 17, so I buy her still being affected by that summer, but 12-year-old love triangles = LOL (there just wasn't enough for me to believe he was the love of her life). Otherwise, this was wonderful, especially when we hit the Point of No Return From Crying.
145. Returnable Girl - Pamela Lowell. 229 pg/2006. [11/25]
Oh, what a wonderful foster-child story!
I'm sick of getting angry at books, but -- victim sympathizing 101 (never leave a gray area), you're failing it. And by the time the "truth" started coming out I hated idiotic Ellie too much to believe her.
147. Wolf: The Journey Home - 'Asta Bowen. 276 pg/2006. [12/1]
Ahhh. Washing the bad taste out of my mouth is this brilliant wildlife novel, as classic as anything from 50 years ago, just with the addition of a little wildlife-biologist intervention.
148. Pregnant Pause - Han Nolan. 340 pg/2011. [12/1]
Compelling read featuring exactly the sort of girl you'd expect to get pregnant without having to also read about a low-class setting. It was nice not to have a "good girl" screw up for once. Plus she got more likeable as it went on.
149. They're Only Human - James Grieve. 231 pg/2001. [12/3]
Animal rights + student/teacher relationship = how could it go wrong? Well, it could be boring as sin, featuring the perfect cliche of crazy vigilante animal rights activists, while the relationship could involve a girl way too young and naive for this to be anything but sexual abuse (which the text makes very clear).
150. Skinny - Donna Cooner. 260 pg/2012. [12/9]
Not extraordinary, but definitely the best of the gastric-bypass novels so far.
151. Long Live The Queen - Ellen Emerson White. 311 pg/2008. [12/18]
Well sweet. Stroll into the dollar store, stroll out with the definitive story for nearly all your terrorist-abduction, violent-hostage-keeping, and medical/emotional-recovery needs, no background required (though I guess I still need book 4 to round the latter out).
152. Double Vision - Diana Hendry. 272 pg/1990. [12/25]
Nice enough, I suppose, but I didn't understand anything that was happening until I was about halfway through. It was hard to even keep the time period straight.
153. A Beautiful Friendship - David Weber. 352 pg/2011. [12/25]
154. No Promises In The Wind - Irene Hunt. 247 pg/1970. [12/27]
What I expected to be a quick and basic read instead turned into a complex, mature story (the sort I would have envisioned for an adult audience, or at the very least worthy of classroom study) that moved me to tears more than once. It takes a hard, serious look at the desperation in the early days of the Great Depression, but it is not without refreshing hope.
155. Between Expectatons: Lessons from a Pediatric Residency [NF] - Meghan MacLean Weir. 272 pg/2011. [12/28]
A decent peek into doctors' rounds from a current young doctor's perspective, largely unencumbered by anecdotes from non-work life, but the the writing was simultaneously too dreamy and too clinical, making it hard to form even a short term investment in any patients.
156. Where You Are - J.H. Trumble. 320 pg/2012. [12/29]
THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE LOVE STORY.
Ultimate Conclusions: I read way more than I thought I would, not intentionally so much as that Goodreads gave me a super credible and endless source of recommendations, and between that and discovering Interlibrary Loan to GET me all of those books, it was like being given an unlimited credit card. I now have license to obtain ALL THE BOOKS!!! and that's exactly what I've been doing. Statistic-wise, here are some things we learned, though only one turned into a fancy graph.
I read about 18% nonfiction, now that I'm all keen on memoirs about people as well as pets, and 5% grownup fiction (ALL THE BOOKS =/= boring grownup ones), leaving us with a comfortable 77% for juvenile and YA. 80% female authors, 20% male, per usual. Definitely more 2012 books than I expected. And what do you want to bet at least half of that 33% was copyright 2008 or later?